Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bergen SWAN Points the Way to Cleaner Waters

By Brianna Farulla
Worldwide there are various grassroots organizations which each stand for causes that are crucial to the lives of many. With so many options at peoples’ disposal, it may be difficult for them to decide which would be the best candidate to invest their time and money into. However, that decision can often be made simpler when an issue comes up that hits close to home. The impact of something relatable will often outweigh other options, which is what happened to me when I first heard of the Bergen Save the Watershed Action Network.

I could have been given an entire booklet of various organizations and Bergen SWAN would still manage to pop out at me. The fact that I’ve lived in Bergen County my entire life obviously has a lot to do with that. Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to learn that the committee in the charge of the Barnert Temple Mitzvah Mall, being residents of Bergen County, chose to sponsor this group since they had a particular attachment to it as well.

My interest went straight towards the group since it’s striving to make a change in the area that I was born and raised in. Anything that could potentially improve my life is of great importance to me, as it would be to anyone else. It’s not a matter of being selfish, but more a matter of being concerned and willing to be active in regards to environmental issues occurring near me and my loved ones.

Bergen SWAN aims to preserve natural lands and the reservoirs that supply drinking water to residents in Bergen, Hudson and Rockland counties. The water that we’re provided with is far from drinkable, without expensive filtering, and needs sustainability now more than ever. Over the years it only becomes more polluted, so if we can start changing now, there’s a chance of improvement for the water in years to come. I’m well aware that there’s already been 22 years worth of contaminated water put into my body, but then I think of people like my younger cousins and generations that have yet to experience life. In order for there to be hope for them, we ultimately have to fight for changes today.

The goal of Bergen SWAN isn’t even solely about the water. The group urges to permanently protect the last remaining open spaces as well. Places like the Ramapo Reservation automatically come to mind. I think of the natural beauty that it provides, all of the hikes that I’ve managed to enjoy there and the wildlife that calls the location home. Places like that are an escape from reality and provide scenic views that are few and far between. I couldn’t imagine having to sacrifice all of that for a golf course or an apartment complex. There are similar structures being built daily which are taking away from our land and are only contributing to the overpopulation and pollution of Bergen County.

Therefore, I’m glad to hear that Bergen SWAN is finally gaining the recognition that it’s deserved since 1988. It’s sad that it’s taken this long, but anywhere is a start. I’m sure that they’ll be able to catch up for lost times with the help of technology, which has the ability to help grassroots campaigns rapidly spread information. I know that Bergen County has the potential to become a much cleaner place with the proper help from residents and with that being said, I wish the group nothing but success.

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